Writing short stories has always been a challenge for me. My ideas are usually too complicated and require a lot of set up and character development.
or so I thought.
Recently I’ve realized I am not doing myself any favors by refusing to refine this form of writing. After all, just about all my favorite writers got their start publishing short stories. There are so many more opportunities to publish a short story than a novel.
My first attempts were pretty bad. Even with “shorter” ideas, my stories were too complicated, too convoluted, and really pretty boring.
Then I came across an anthology with a theme that I was already writing a novel about.
And a lightbulb went off.
Because I already had the backstory, the world building, the set up in my head, I used this opportunity to write a short, side story about a minor character in my novel. A character that I would have liked to have given more attention, but it would have bogged down my novel.
As a short story though… it worked.
But I still had to edit, clean, and cut down words to make the word count.
Unfortunately the anthology was cancelled, but I did receive an encouraging reply.
So I kept trying. And I kept getting better. Ideas for short stories came easier. Keeping them short came easier.
And then something pretty cool happened.
I had to do some major edits on a novel manuscript. And that came easier. I had an easier time finding run on sentences, cutting out words, making everything clearer and more concise.
Learning how to write short stories made editing my novel easier.
Since this glorious revelations I have shared this discovery with some writing friends of mine. Most of them haven’t believed me. Like me, they feel that they are just no good at writing short stories. I hope they change their minds because I’d love to see what they come up with.
Everyone will find their own path.
Just don’t sell yourself short.
Do you write short stories? What is your best method? Please share in comments below.